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How much vitamin A does a child need each day?


The article is professionally consulted by Master, Doctor Huynh Bao Toan - Department of Pediatrics - Neonatology - Vinmec Nha Trang International General Hospital.
Vitamin A is an important micronutrient, participating in many functions in the body, including growth, helping children develop normally. According to statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO), about 3 million children have dry eyes and up to 251 million children have preclinical vitamin A deficiency.

1. What is Vitamin A?

Vitamin A (retinol, retinoic acid) is an important nutrient for vision, growth, cell division, reproduction, and immunity. Vitamin A also has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that can protect your cells against the effects of free radicals - molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to cigarette smoke and radiation. . Free radicals play a role in heart disease, cancer and many other diseases.

2. The role of vitamin A with children?

Vitamin A is essential for many metabolic processes of the body, including:
Vitamin A plays a role in the growth process, helping children develop normally. Vitamin A is involved in eye function in low light conditions. Its manifestation is called "night blindness", which is an early sign of vitamin A deficiency.
Trẻ cần bao nhiêu vitamin a mỗi ngày
Quáng gà là dấu hiệu sớm của thiếu vitamin A.
Vitamin A is involved in the visual function of the eye, which is the ability to see in low light conditions. When vitamin A deficiency, the ability to see in low light will be reduced, this phenomenon often appears at dusk, so it is called "night blindness". Night blindness is an early clinical manifestation of vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A is required for the protection of the integrity of the corneal epithelium of the eye, subcutaneous epithelial tissues, trachea, salivary glands, small intestine, testicles... When vitamin A deficiency, the production of mucous membranes is reduced, the skin is dry and keratinized, this manifestation is often seen in the eyes, at first it is dry conjunctiva and then damage to the cornea. Epithelial cells are damaged with a decrease in resistance to facilitate bacterial invasion. Vitamin A participates in the body's immune response, increasing the body's resistance to disease. If vitamin A deficiency, children are susceptible to infections and when infected, the disease lasts longer, the risk of death is higher. One of the main consequences of vitamin A deficiency is an increased risk of serious infections. Infection increases the body's need for vitamin A and thus worsens the deficiency. As a result, children can be led into a vicious cycle of deficiency and infection, which is why vitamin A deficiency is such an important cause of death in children.

3. How much Vitamin A do children need each day?

Because children are still developing, they need a relatively high amount of vitamin A; about half that of adults. Another reason the relatively high intakes are due to the infant's susceptibility to infections should increase the metabolic rate and thus increase the need for vitamin A.
Breast milk contains enough vitamin A for babies up to six months of age. , but then supplements should have small amounts of foods rich in vitamin A.
For young children, a balanced diet rich in vitamin A should eat at least 2 -3 vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables greens per day, plus a bit of fat to aid in vitamin A absorption.
Young children are completely dependent on their mother or caregivers and so it is important that mothers and caregivers have what foods to eat. rich in vitamin A to fully provide children through the diet.
Currently, the recommendation for high-dose vitamin A prophylaxis for young children in Vietnam is as follows:
Children under 12 months of age: 100,000 units of vitamin A every 6 months. Children 12 - 36 months: 200,000 units of vitamin A every 6 months. Children from 36-60 months: Recommended dosage depends on the region. Some mothers may think about checking vitamin A levels in their babies before giving vitamin A. However, it should be noted that although we can have a blood test to measure vitamin A levels in the blood. , but this value does not accurately reflect the status of vitamin A stores in the liver in the body. When there are abnormal signs of vitamin A levels in the blood, the body has a serious vitamin A deficiency and there may be consequences already. Therefore, blood testing in children prior to vitamin A supplementation is not recommended.

4. Which foods rich in vitamin A are good for children?

There are two main sources of vitamin A: animal sources and plant sources:
In animal sources, vitamin A is found in the form of retinol found in the liver, including fish liver, which is a very good source of vitamin A. Animal sources such as egg yolks and dairy products such as milk (including breast milk), cheese, and butter. Animal meat is not a healthy source of vitamin A.
Trẻ cần bao nhiêu vitamin a mỗi ngày
Gan là một nguồn vitamin A rất tốt
Plant sources of vitamin A are in the form of carotenoids that must be converted during digestion into retinol before the body can use it. Carotenoids are pigments that give plants their green color and some fruits and vegetables their red or orange color. Plant sources of vitamin A include: mango, papaya, squash, carrots, sweet potatoes and corn (but not white corn), red palm oil (Note: if this oil is boiled to remove color, of them, vitamin A will be destroyed). Some fruits and vegetables are easier to digest than others and some dark green leafy vegetables like spinach or amaranth are more difficult to digest, so they need to be cooked to help the body easily. more digestible. It is important that all sources of vitamin A are not overcooked, as this can reduce vitamin A content. Ultraviolet rays can also reduce vitamin A content in foods, so drying Fruits like mango should not be taken in direct sunlight.
Diets that rely heavily on carbohydrates, such as rice, fufu (a staple food in West Africa), ugali (a thick paste of cornmeal), cassava, millet and sorghum (sorghum) are all very low in vitamins A, unless these foods are enriched with vitamin A.
Vitamin A deficiency can cause dangerous complications for children's health and mental well-being, so parents need to observe and supplement in time. source of this important vitamin.
In addition to vitamin A supplements, parents can supplement their children with supportive foods containing vitamin B1 and essential micro-minerals such as zinc, lysine, chromium, selenium, ... to help fully meet their needs. nutrition in children. At the same time, these essential vitamins also support digestion, enhance nutrient absorption, help improve anorexia, and help children eat well.
>> Parents can learn more: What disease can vitamin A deficiency cause? by Specialist Doctor II Ho Viet Le Diem - General Internal Medicine - Department of Examination & Internal Medicine - Vinmec Central Park International General Hospital.
Please regularly visit Vinmec.com website and update useful information to take care of your baby and family.
The article references the source: Ncbi.nih.gov; Mayoclinic.org

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